Another September, another fresh academic year for school children – and also for us.
We tend to take a break over the summer as our eldest son is on his school summer break, as are some of the boys’ friends, but since we have always largely unschooled it hasn’t ever made a massive difference to our plans until this year.
This year we’re taking a more structured approach to home ed. I’m not talking strict timetables or 9-3 desk work, but we have some classes at set times and are working in more curated topics rather than being completely child led.
Rowan is focusing more on the core subjects this year, so is studying KS3 science with his usual science teacher at LoveScience once a week. During September they’ve started content on cells which has been a good refresher for me as well as Rowan.
We’ve signed up to something new for Maths which is a pre-recorded block with The £2 Tuition Hub. I’m not sure whether this approach will be the best fit for us yet but if not there are lots of other options to consider.
For English, Rowan is part way through a creative writing course at the local library, run by Pigeons and Doves. It seems to have been well received so far and will take us almost all the way through to the end of November. I think the fact that his good friend is on the same course helps Rowan to gather enough motivation to spend two hours in the library of an evening!
Rowan also joined the local gym over the summer so has continued with that a couple of times a week, and aside from us being away on holiday he hasn’t missed a single week of his favourite home ed session – his days out with Louise at Let’s Go! The Let’s Go crew enjoyed a particularly special day out in August to Alton Towers, and have been to all kinds of other places too over the last few weeks.
EJ is still Minecraft mad and so this year I have bought the Minecraft Maths and English workbooks for him to work through. We do a couple of pages each day, alternating between the two subjects, and it seems to be working quite well. We’re perhaps halfway through the first two books now which are aimed at ages 5-6 and we also have the 6-7 books too. Since EJ only turned six a few weeks ago I think those should keep us on track until next summer.
For science, EJ has also started a course with Abbie at LoveScience. That works well for us since LoveScience subscriptions are priced per family and not per child, and EJ has been around for the last two years as Rowan has been attending Abbie’s online classes, so she isn’t a new face to him. To mix it up a bit, EJ decided that his first science class would be undertaken in a den in the lounge. Well… why not?
The rest of EJ’s learning is child led and topic based. During September EJ showed an interest in chameleons, so we did some topic work on those, their habitat and other creatures who live in the rainforest. Most resources for this came from Twinkl since they actually have a full ‘challenge’ on this very subject: the Virtual Amazon Adventure. The beauty of working like this is that I can add as much as I think is necessary for EJ and then extra for Rowan, and both can do the same topic to their own ability level. I’ve just sent for the co-ordinating Pawprint Family badge for EJ’s blanket to round off our rainforest topic before we move on with the next one which is Arctic Adventure. EJ has actually already made a start on this one by making an Arctic world on (of course) Minecraft and this will continue through October.
We also started learning about Islam in September and visited a local mosque as part of Visit My Mosque day – it was great to see inside of a building we ordinarily wouldn’t have access to, and to learn some buts and bobs about Islam from local adults and children of the faith. We’ll probably do more on Islam during October and use our knowledge to make a lapbook about each religion we cover.
Another thing we’ve gone back to during September is forest school. Our previous one isn’t running now so we’ve started going to Wild Souls in Greenmount, Bury. It’s a lovely and welcoming session with lots to do for all different ages and is set in a community orchard.
Other fun stuff we’ve done this month includes meditation, night walks, a tram adventure day, foraging, making acorn coffee and more! For day-to-day updates you can follow us on Instagram.
If you’re also a home educating family I would love to read about what you’ve been up to this month! Catch up with us over on our social media channels, or just leave a comment here on this post with what you’ve been doing.